IMPROMPTU

"A single spark can set off the greatest fire." Today FixatedF turns FIVE! Back in 2009, I forced one of my most striking friends to pose for me as I took head-shots of her. It was an impromptu shoot in my room during a party (which at that time looked like something out of Vogue to my naïve, barely-sixteen self), sparked by ambitious intentions of sending them to modeling agencies and idealistic hopes of making Eshaba the next Lakshmi Menon. Although these plans fell through over the following months, other things were transpiring in the grand scheme of life. Within a year's time I discovered what it meant to have a muse, realised the direction I wanted to steer my photography towards and then created a digital platform to express myself visually through my photography. That was the birth of FixatedF. Since then, this blog has been a safe space for me not only to communicate creative ideas, but to also rant about personal struggles from time to time. Five years later, I'm still getting Eshaba to pose for me whenever the blank spaces in our schedules collide. Without prior planning, without high expectations, without any rules, we've been squeezing in photo sessions over the years. My first post on FixatedF featured her portraits and simply read "that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano" - that's still exactly how I feel today when photographing her. All through these years, this girl hasn't ceased to inspire me. It always feels like anything is possible. Take these latest images for example. Despite her messy wardrobe dictating the styling, a bedside lamp as a light source and the glow of a MacBook to fill shadows, we managed to create some kind of aesthetically-pleasing visuals in the middle of...

DREAMS FOR PLANS

Tonight I'm feeling despondent. It's one of those nights where I lay staring at the ceiling as melancholic and angry thoughts of varying degrees try to overtake each other, racing through my mind. Here I am trying to stay afloat, trying to shake off this sensation of drowning, trying to sink only into bed. The days of summer pass and they seem uneventful, save for a few exciting weekends, and I never noticed that I've been physically and emotionally draining myself. So let the venting begin... To start things off, being back with my family has been stifling in ways. One-half of the parentals isn't supportive is in total opposition to my creative endeavours (i.e. photography, this blog, anything fashion related), which means a lot of what I do has to be on the sly. It's a chance to put my 007 skills to good use as I keep my sartorial decisions out of sight. Although this is something I've become accustomed to over the years, leaving this space of negativity and then coming back into it is bloody deflating. Just when I thought I'd found my voice, some confidence and the grit to be who I am... I get put down faster than you can say Azzedine Alaïa, by the people who should be encouraging me. So done with this, it's something that I know won't ever change. Moving on, how does one deal with kaypohs? Every second person I've met since returning has asked me about my plans after university, which is still two years away, and then comment on how much weight I've put on (this is a whole other rant on its own). Judging by their reactions to my standard reply of "I haven't thought...

SELF-PORTRAITS

While I am a firm believer in the phrase if you want something done right, do it yourself, I find that people misjudge what it really means when they take it at face value. What I understand from this saying is more along the lines of if you want something done in a particular way, to a certain standard, to your complete satisfaction, without any qualms... do it yourself. Makes so much more sense, doesn't it? This is the reasoning behind why I try to do hair and make-up for most of my shoots, why I partially designed my blog* and why I'm starting to take my own photos for outfit posts. Totally bringing the selfie-game up to the next level. A bonus of taking photos on my own is that I get to squeeze in a good workout while running between position and camera, under the pressure of a ten second deadline. The result? Cardio for the day and a perfect self-portrait. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. If you're counting in Navajo, that is. Truth be told, the first couple of times I tried, I was left with unfocused blurs and bitter disappointment. But I was determined to get this right, and after a few more days of practice, I believe I've nailed it. And being the generous person that I am**, I've put together a few tips and tricks to make sailing into self-shooting seas smoother for you. "I don't own a tripod" and "a remote is out of my budget" are plain excuses. Hell, you don't even need an actual camera, you can do it with your phone on timer mode,...

THE LADY THAT NEVER LEFT

  Time creeps on, with a river's relentlessness, washing the walls of this house clean, freed from traces of inhabitance. With every bit of this mansion that crumbles, light shines onto a forgotten corner. People come and go, but never remain for too long. They know this is her home. Windows and doors, ceilings and floors, all may fall, but her beleaguering memories are here to stay. As you stare at dust, dancing through streams of light, you might catch a glimpse of the lady that never left.   Hypocrisy is never a flattering shade on anyone. That's the colour one wears when they fail to practice what they preach. That's the colour I almost wore on the morning of our shoot. Be spontaneous. Just go with the flow. YOLO. That's what I tell anyone I see stressing over little things. What I did was the total opposite. Less than an hour before our shoot, my friend and make-up artist had fallen ill and unfortunately wasn't able to make it... and I almost lost the plot. I actually don't know why I freaked out so much that morning. Possibly because I had just woken up when I got that text, or possibly because I had overplanned this shoot in my head. It's so important to take your own advice at times and thankfully for a very reassuring Josie (who is also amazing at painting her own face), I bounced back into motivation. I really should know by now that life can never be tamed into following the confines of a plan. Look at our location for example - a mansion with lavish...

HELLO, AUGUST

Someone please fill me in on how my favourite month has sprung upon us already? Actually, don't. I couldn't be more excited for this month and the celebrations that come with it. Starting with the obvious, it's Singapore's 50th year of independence. I'm not the kind to hang up flags or stick on car decals or don a red-white attire (one of these is a lie), but just because I don't express myself on the outside, doesn't mean I don't feel patriotic on the inside. I may fall in love with cities and towns across the world and I may bitch about the weather here and I may not always agree with what the government is doing, but Singapore always has been and always will be home (truly). August 9th is the one time of year when the flag-waving side of me rears its head and I can already feel the side-eye my friends will be giving me as they read this entry. Let me live, guys. Also, National Day this year has brought about on of my favourite hashtags, #SimiSaiAlsoSG50 - in reference to kiasu exploitation of the theme this year. From every restaurant/cafe/salon (any type of service-based business really) having $50 promotions to fishcakes badly (mis)shaped into numerals to red-coloured McDonald's ice-cream cones - there's no escaping the nationalistic festivities. I love Singapore as well, but I'm sure we can agree that some of it is just taking it too far. SG50 aside, just three days before my own birthday is the anniversary of FixatedF. My little corner of the interwebs is turning five. That's an entire...
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